One of my most cherished childhood memories is my father cutting the “Vasilopita” in the dining room after new year’s lunch. I remember all the anticipation of who would get the lucky piece of cake, which held the future of my happiness and prosperity for the year to come.
This “magical” cake hides a coin and according to tradition, whoever gets the lucky piece will be blessed with joy and happiness in the new year. Tradition aside, this is an absolutely delicious cake. It’s a tender butter cake flavoured with orange and roasted almonds. I added a pinch of mastic powder in the batter but if you prefer you can bake yours with just the intense flavor of orange. Whether I get the coin or not, I still get to eat a piece of this fantastic cake and that’s lucky enough for me.
- 250 g unsalted butter (softened)
- 300 g granulated sugar
- 1 Tbs orange zest
- 1/2 tsp mastic tears, crushed with 1 tsp sugar (optional)
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 320 g purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 90 g fresh orange juice
- 180 g milk
- 180 g almonds, roasted and roughly chopped
- 1 clean coin, wrapped in greaseproof paper (butter and flour paper after wrapping. This will prevent the coin from sinking all the way to the bottom of the cake)
Preheat oven 180 C conventional/160 C fan. Grease base of a round 26 cm spring form pan. Line base with round parchment, grease and flour paper and sides.
In a bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the flat beater, beat butter, sugar, crushed mastic and orange zest until white and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
Sift flour with baking powder, soda and salt. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until combined. Add half of the milk and orange juice and mix. Add another 1/3 of the flour and the remaining milk and orange juice. Finish with the remaining flour and mix until incorporated. Don’t overmix. Finally add chopped almonds.
Pour batter into prepared pan and level with a spoon or spatula. Put coin by pushing it down slightly with your fingers until it is just under the surface. Bake for about 40 minutes. Cover loosely with foil and continue baking for 20 minutes more, until a tester in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then release sides of the pan. Invert cake on a plate, remove and discard parchment paper from the base, then invert again on a serving platter. Cool completely before dusting with icing sugar.
Good luck! Have the best new year.